I’ve been working on a post for the past few days, but it seems silly to talk about education and tuition fees when the whole country is abuzz with election fever. I have consciously avoided making any political statements because I didn’t want to play partisan politics, specially since my position makes it super easy to do so. But the votes have been cast and there’s no choice now but to wait for the official results.

A Duterte presidency is imminent and while I don’t harbor any illusion that he can deliver half of his promises (seriously, eradicate crime in 6 months?), the hope that he inspires in our countrymen buoys me to think that maybe we are finally ready to quit complaining and work together towards a better Philippines.

The race for the vice-presidency is so tight and the Robredo lead over Marcos is barely just a barangay’s population. But I wonder why Marcos was able to garner that many votes in the first place. Are we really that forgetful as a country? Are we just being stubborn in not choosing to move on and forget about that “martial law thingy”? What happened to our youth? How could they have fallen for the Marcos revisionism of martial law?

I was 7 years old when the tanks rolled into EDSA. My parents didn’t join the throng of people calling for the ouster of the Dictator, but I remember playing “rally” with my Barbie doll. I remember the songs and the stories of abuse. Even as a kid, I knew that the Dictator hurt those who didn’t agree with him. That students just suddenly disappeared and were never heard from again.

I didn’t learn that in school, but I lived through it. This generation didn’t have the same experience. All they probably knew about martial law were the beautiful buildings Imelda built and how crime was virtually non-existent, making it easy for them to believe the Marcos drivel about that time in our history being the golden age. Of course, a little research would have shown them the lies being fed to them.

One thing’s for sure, we almost let a Marcos be a heartbeat away from Malacanang with our negligence. When the smoke has cleared from the election madness, there must be a review of our basic education curriculum. The horrors of martial law must not be glossed over in our history books. Make Dekada 70 required viewing for school children. Establish a permanent martial law museum, and not merely a pop-up venue.

While I hoped for a Cayetano vice-presidency, I am also excited with a Robredo win because now we have someone in power who has had first-hand experience dealing with poverty and the marginalized sectors of our society. Maybe now we can finally have programs that will lead to inclusive growth, and uplift the laylayan of our society.

Maybe it’s just because I’m an incorrigible optimist, but I really am excited about the next 6 years. It feels as if we have been given the chance to start anew, and create a Philippines that we and our children deserve. Let’s not screw this up.

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